Transcribed from History of Labette County, Kansas and its Representative Citizens, ed. & comp. by Hon. Nelson Case. Pub. by Biographical Publishing Co., Chicago, Ill. 1901

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Wheat on hand March 1, 1900, 30,856 bushels.
Corn on hand March 1, 1900, 240,332 bushels.
*Product of 1899.


Almost from the commencement of our history, the farmers have in one form or another been more or less effectively organized for the promotion of agriculture, and the advancement of their interests.


The first organization of this kind of which I have any knowledge was the Farmers' Club, of Oswego township, which was organized in October, 1870. F. Swanwick was elected president, and J. P. Jones secretary.

The Richland Township Farmers' Club was organized April 6, 1872, although steps toward the organization of a club seem to have been taken a year previous. S. K. Thomas was chairman and J. N. Watson secretary of the temporary organization, and T. J. Calvin and J. N. Watson were the permanent president and secretary.

In January, 1881, the Hackberry Club was organized, with D. B. Crouse as president.

It is not improbable that clubs were organized at other points, of which I have received no information.


On May 20, 1882, a Farmers' Alliance was organized at Chetopa, with Isaac Butterworth president and A. E. Bartlett secretary. I know of no other alliance being organized prior to the general. move some years later.


The only account I have of this organization is the following announcement for a 4th of July celebration, made by them June 14, 1873:

"There will be a basket picnic and meeting of the Farmers' Union of the county at Hart's Mill, two and one-half miles northwest of Labette City, on the Labette River; not only for the purpose of celebrating our nation's anniversary, but for the purpose of declaring our independence and emancipation from the thralldom of monopolies and corporations that now, through their moneyed influence, oppress the laboring classes (the bone and sinew of the nation) to an extent more alarming than the tyranny our forefathers emancipated themselves from.


The farmers' organization known as "The Grange," or "Patrons of Husbandry," was introduced into this county in the summer of 1873. I do not know where the first grange in the county was organized, but John Nelson, of Neosho township, was county organizer, and on September 11, 1873, he organized the Pleasant Valley Grange, in District No. 3.

On October 15, 1873, Richland Grange was organized, at Watson's schoohouse, with D. J. Doolen master, J. C. McKnight overseer, and John N. Watson secretary.


On December 19, 1873, the various granges of the county met at Labette to farm a council. J. F. Hill was chosen chairman, and C. W. Olmstead secretary. At this meeting a constitution which did not allow women to vote was adopted, but it was unsatisfactory to the local organizations. On December 27th an adjourned meeting was held, in which 70 delegates were present, representing 20 granges. Women, who had been excluded from the former convention, were admitted to this. The county organization was now completed, and the following officers were elected: J. J. Woods, master; J. F. Hill, overseer; John Richardson, treasurer; D. C. Thurston, secretary; S. W. Collins, business agent; and the following executive committee: J. T. Lampson, S. M. Canaday, and T. A. Fellows. The first meeting after its organization was held February 24, 1874. At this meeting the secretaryship was changed, and given to I. W. Patrick; and a grange store was authorized to be started as soon as possible. H. C. Cook was appointed county organizer.

STORE. - In 1874 a grange store was opened at Labette, with an authorized capital stock of $4,000. S. W. Collins, the business agent of the council, was salesman. In June, 1875, J. T. Lampson was appointed agent of the grange store in the place of Samuel Collins. From a financial standpoint the store never proved a success, and quite an amount of money was sunk in the enterprise.

CONDEMNATORY ACTION. - On March 20, 1875, at a meeting of the county council, it was, on motion of J. C. Murphy, "Resolved, That the county council condemn the late action of the county commissioners in regard to their refusal, to accept aid to the destitute of Labette county." At the same time the following resolutions were adopted:

"Resolved, By the Labette County Council of Patrons of Husbandry in its regular session, that we, as a body, asking boot from no one, and in sympathy with our unfortunate yeomanry of this State, do bitterly denounce and condemn the late action of the Senate of the State of Kansas in regard to relief to the destitute of this State, as miserly, misanthropic in its nature, wrong and injurious to its loyal destitute, and a shame and a disgrace to the fair name of grateful Kansas.

"Resolved, That we will heartily endorse any action of the Governor of this State, by way of appropriating a portion of the surplus accumulated funds of the treasury of this State, to render aid, relief and assistance to those requiring the same from the destitution that visited the State last season.

"Resolved, That we will not support for office anyone who would not be willing that the next legislature legalize the same."

These organizations were maintained in the county but two or three years, or at least there was no active work done after that, although there may have been a few local organizations kept up somewhat longer.

EXAMINING COUNTY OFFICES. - In July, 1874, the county council of Patrons of Husbandry appointed a committee of five, consisting of Col. J. J. Woods chairman, John F. Hill, secretary, S. M. Canaday, Thomas Bates, and J. Merwin, to make a thorough examination of the county offices "for the purpose of ascertaining where the money goes." The committee spent some time in the courthouse, and at the end of their investigation made an exhaustive report, filling over five columns of newspaper. A number of recommendations were submitted by the committee, pointing out defects in the law which should be remedied and of administration which should be corrected. It is not improbable that good resulted from this examination, if in nothing else than in making a large proportion of the people better acquainted with the way their business was conducted.



On January 31 1868, a number of the citizens of the county formed an organization for the purpose of locating fair grounds on the southwest quarter of section 16, township 33, range 21, and N. L. Hibbard, W. S. Newlon, C. H. Bent, Isaac Butterworth and others filed a charter in the office of the Secretary of State on February 13th for the incorporation of the Labette County Agricultural and Mechanical Society. W. S. Newlon was elected president and W. P. Bishop secretary. The second issue of the Neosho Valley Eagle contains a notice that the books of the society are open for subscription to its capital stock. This organization never succeeded in starting a fair, or doing anything that looked practically to that end.


In the latter part of June, 1870, a call was made through the Oswego Register for those interested in the organization of a fair to meet at the courthouse on July 2d for the purpose of taking steps to secure such result. On that day there was quite a gathering of the citizens of the county, who effected a temporary organization by electing D. B. Crouse chairman and Nelson Case secretary. The establishment of a fair was discussed, and it was finally agreed to organize the Labette County Agricultural and Horticultural Society. A board of directors representing all parts of the county was selected, and the following officers chosen: D. B. Crouse, president; Jonas Clark, vice-president; C. H. Lewis, secretary; William Steele, treasurer. Under this management a fair was held on the south bank of the Neosho River, on the northwest quarter of section 15, in Oswego. The fair was a success. Annual fairs were thereafter held under the auspices of this society up to and including 1883. Most of these were successful both in the matter of securing a good display of the products of the county and in financial management. In 1873 a new charter was obtained, and the association put on a firmer basis. Fair grounds were purchased in the northeast part of Oswego city, and a commencement made toward improving and fitting them up for the holding of fairs. As indicating what the success of some of the first fairs were, I may mention that in 1873 the receipts were $2,135.15, and the disbursements $1,957.61; in 1874 the receipts were $2,279.84, and disbursements $2,386.09. The following two years the receipts were not enough to pay expenses and premiums, and a small indebtedness was thereby created. The next year or two was more successful. In 1880 a large amphitheater was erected, whereby an indebtedness was created, to secure which a mortgage on the company's grounds was executed; and this finally was foreclosed, and the property sold thereunder. In 1883 the association virtually disbanded, and made no other attempts at holding a fair. The following is a list of the presidents and secretaries of this association after the first fair: Presidents - 1871, D. B. Crouse; 1872, Isaac Butterworth; 1873, C. M. Monroe; 1874-75, J. J. Woods; 1876, F. A. Bettis; 1877-78, R. W. Wright; 1879, J. P. Updegraff; 1880, R. W. Wright.; 1881, C. O. Perkins; 1882-83, C. Montague. Secretaries - 1871, C. H. Lewis; 1872-74, C. B. Woodford; 1875-77, C. A. Wilkin; 1878, C. B. Woodford; 1879-83, C. A. Wilkin.


In the sumer of 1884, it having become apparent that the Agricultural and Horticultural Society was not going to hold a fair that season, a new organization under the name of the Neosho Valley Stock Association was formed, of which D. B. Crouse was president, Isaac Butterworth, vice-president, and C. B. Woodford, secretary. Under its auspices a fair was held on the fair grounds in Oswego, commencing the last of September. No premiums were paid, but diplomas were given according to merit. The treasurer's report at the close of the fair shows the total receipts to be $164.40, and expenses $156.65. In 1883 the officers were: J. F. Hill, president; D. Doyle, vice-president; C. B. Woodford, secretary; and J. W. Marley, treasurer. Quite a successful fair was held, commencing September 8th.


No attempt was made at holding a fair at Oswego from 1885 to 1891. During the summer of 1891 a number of the citizens organized the Labette County Horticultural and Agricultural Fair Association, and elected R. W. Wright, president; J. D. H. Reed, secretary; J. G. Bradley, treasurer and superintendent. A fair was held September 14th to 16th. The exhibits and attendance were encouraging. The receipts were large enough to pay all expenses, which amounted to $260.

In 1892 the association held its second fair, from September 29th to October 1st. The officers this year were: J. B. Montgomery, president; J. D. H. Reed, secretary; George Pfaff, treasurer; and J. G. Bradley, superintendent. The receipts were $600, and all premiums and obligations were paid in full.

About the same course has been pursued each year since 1892. For two or three years past, instead of going to the fair grounds, a street fair in the city of Oswego was held yearly, which was quite as interesting and brought out as good a display of the products of the county as a regularly conducted agricultural fair. Street fairs have also been held in Chetopa and Parsons.


In the summer of 1872 a number of the citizens of the vicinity of the town of Labette organized the Labette County Agricultural, Horticultural and Mechanical Association, for the purpose of holding a fair at that point. F. C. Burnette was elected president and Wm. Houck secretary. A fair commencing the 8th of October of that year was held, with a fair degree of success. The following officers were elected for 1873: President, S. W. Collins; vice-president, J. F. Piper, secretary, William Houck; treasurer, Harvey I. Cox. It was decided to hold a fair in the fore part of October, but no fair seems to have been held; and this, apparently, was the last of this association.


Early in 1882 steps were taken by some of the citizens of Parsons to form an organization for the purpose of holding a fair at that place. The Parsons Fair and Driving Park Association was formed, with a board of directors composed of its leading business men, of which G. W. Gabriel was president and J. R. Brown secretary. Good grounds were secured and improved, and from 1882 to 1886, inclusive, successful fairs were held. After that no fair was held till 1892, when another effort was made, with a good result.


In August, 1884, the Short-Horn Breeders' Association was organized, with the following officers: Dr. B. R. Van Meter, president; Chas. W. Stoddard, vice-president; M. E. Williams, secretary; J. C. Christian, treasurer.


Those engaged in horticulture and fruit-growing were only a little behind those interested in agriculture and stock-raising in taking steps to unite their interests for mutual improvement in growing and disposing of their products. The early records of the Labette County Horticultural Society have been lost, and I am not able to give the date of its organization; but it was sometime prior to 1877. Nearly all of the fruit-growers in the vicinity of Oswego and a number in other parts of the county have been members and active workers of this society. Among those who have been most prominent as workers in the society I mention the following: H. S. Coley, J. L. Williams, N. Sanford, J. A. Gates, John F. Hill, J. B. Draper, D. Doyle, Isaac Butterworth, W. S. Newlon, G. A. Stover, Wilf. Cooper, Henry Tibbitts, George Pfaff. I do not wish to be understood as giving in this list the names of all of those who have been prominent workers in this society, but only such as now occur to me. Had I the records of the society the list might be very much enlarged. During the summer the society frequently holds picnics, at which all phases of the question of fruitgrowing are fully and carefully discussed, and much of the success of the fruit-growing business may be fairly attributed to the work of this society.



There is no existing record of the organization of this society. It was probably organized early in 1869. The first minutes I have been able to find of its meetings are those for a semi-annual meeting held at Oswego on November 7, 1870; the society was then called the Osage and Southern Kansas Medical Association. C. M. Gilkey was president and Robert Steele secretary. At this meeting it was voted to change the name to the Labette County Medical Association; W. S. Newlon was elected president; George Lisle, vice-president; Robert Steele, secretary; and J. W. Wier, treasurer. A uniform schedule of fees was adopted.

On June 8, 1871, a meeting of the society was held, at which W. S. Newlon was president and D. D. McGrath, secretary.

On June 16, 1875, after a lapse of two or three years, a meeting was held, and the association revived. George Lisle was elected president; W. S. Newlon, vice-president, C. Humble, secretary, and B. R. Van Meter, treasurer.

On May 18,1885, the society again organized, and elected J. J. Kackley president, and A. O. Garnett, secretary.

The society now maintains an organization and holds regular meetings.


On September 15, 1881, the members of the Indiana met at Labette City and organized a county bar association, with the following officers: H. G. Webb, president; Nelson Case and George S. King, vice-presidents; J. H. Morrison, secretary, J. A. Gates, treasurer. This association was never very active, and after a brief existence it was abandoned, since which time no effort has been made to organize or maintain an association.


On June 19, 1886, the former residents of Indiana met at Labette City and organized a Hoosier Association. Wilf. Cooper was elected president and W. W. Cook, secretary. This association has held several annual meetings since then, and maintains a feeling of friendship and pride among the old "Indianians."


Several attempts have been made to secure a permanent organization of the old settlers in the county. As early as April 16, 1884, there was a preliminary meeting held at the court-house in Oswego, at which a committee was appointed to report a plan for enrollment at an adjourned meeting to be held thereafter. D. B. Crouse was chosen chairman and C. B. Woodford secretary. One or two other meetings were held the following month, and a form of constitution was adopted. However, this organization never did anything more than to have these preliminary meetings. In 1888 another effort was made to secure an organization, and a meeting of the old settlers was called through the Independent, to be held on the 22d of February of that year. A committee was appointed at this meeting to call a public meeting and arrange for a large attendance of the old settlers throughout the county. This committee called such meeting to be held at the fair grounds in Oswego on May 10, 1888. An organization was formed at this time, and since then some two or three other meetings have been held; but the general interest has not yet been secured which it is to be hoped will be shown by those who have done so much to make the county what it is.


In its issue of July 6, 1878, the Oswego Independent contained a notice of about a halfdozen lines stating that a meeting of the citizens of the county would be held at the courthouse on Tuesday evening following, for the purpose of taking steps to organize a historical society. It was understood that this notice was inserted by J. S. Waters, who was then doing editorial work on the Independent. On July 9, 1878, a few parties met at the courthouse, pursuant to said notice. Alexander Duncan, of Canada township, was made temporary chairman, and J. S. Waters, temporary secretary. The matter of a historical society was talked of, and before the adjournment of the meeting a committee, consisting of Nelson Case, W. A. Starr and R. M. Donley, was appointed to prepare a plan for organization to be submitted in one week from that time. On Tuesday evening, July 16, the meeting met as per adjournment. The committee appointed to prepare the plan reported through Nelson Case, its chairman, recommending the formation of a society on a very simple basis, "keeping in view sooner or later the incorporation of a society," and submitting the draft of a constitution. The report of the committee was adopted, and the following officers elected: President, Nelson Case; vice-president, George Lisle; secretary, J. S. Waters; corresponding secretary, M. W. Reynolds; treasurer, C. M. Monroe; with vice-presidents from each of the townships. There has never been any change in the presidency since its organization. In 1879 W. A. Starr was elected secretary in place of Mr. Waters, who moved away; this position he continued to hold until his death. On November 21, 1881, the society became incorporated by filing its charter in the office of the Secretary of State. Since Mr. Starr's death E. B. Baldwin and J. R. Hill have filled the office of secretary; H. C. Cook and M. E. Williams have held the office of treasurer.

Nearly complete files of many of the county papers, have been preserved, and other objects of interest have been secured, but for several years the society has held no meetings and has been practically disorganized.


On Saturday, September 19, 1875, a meeting was held at Oswego, which was attended by citizens from various parts of the county, for the purpose of organizing a board auxiliary to the State board to secure a proper representation at the Centennial Exposition. The constitution and by-laws recommended by the State board were adopted, and a board of managers elected, consisting of the following individuals: W. S. Newlon, P. T. Rhodes, F. B. McGill, Henry Tibbitts, J. F. Hill, J. J. Woods, A. Gebert, H. C. Cook, and J. M. Cavaness. A quorum of the board being present, a meeting was held, and the permanent officers of the board chosen, with the following result: President, J. M. Cavaness; vice-president, F. B. McGill; secretary, J. F. Hill; treasurer, J. J. Woods. The board of officers constituted the executive committee. The committees whose duty it was to make collections of the various articles requested by the State board were all chosen.


On August 26, 1892, a meeting of the ladies of the county was held at the parlors of the Oswego House, for the purpose of seeing the county properly represented at the Columbian Exposition. The following permanent officers were elected: Mrs. M. M. Woodruff, president; Mrs. Mary E. Perkins, vice-president; Mrs. Alice Greene, secretary; Mrs. Elizabeth Elliott, treasurer. Mrs. Woodruff having declined to serve, Mrs. Lyda A. Baldwin was elected president in her place.

G. A. R.

Pea Ridge Post, No. 118, is located at Chetopa, and was organized August 21, 1882. Post commanders: Capt. Thomas O'Hare, Col. J. B. Cook, James F. Sterling, L. M. Bedell, S. T. Herman, W. O. Breckenridge, Robert Orme, William Stevens, H. J. Schock, W. H. Hooper, J. W. Bowles, and George Rodgers. Most of the commanders have served more than one term. Under the auspices of this post for eight years have been held annual soldiers' reunions. The first was held October 18-21, 1893.

Antietam Post, No. 64, is located at Parsons, and was organiezd[sic] June 2, 1882; it has been incorporated under the laws of Kansas. There are 400 names on its roll. The city of Parsons conveyed to the post, for a nominal consideration, a tract in Oakwood Cemetery in which all old soldiers are buried free of expense to their friends, if they so desire; eighty-four old soldiers have already been buried in these grounds. Two eight-inch Columbiads, weighing 9,240 pounds each, a gift of the War Department, mounted on cut-stone supports with concrete foundations, point over the graves of those buried there. These grounds are substantially and beautifully enclosed with cut sandstone coping and cap stones, and the graves are marked with Government headstones. Nearly $5,000 have been expended on this burying place. Post Commanders: W. H. Morris, Luther Gilmore, H. L. Partridge, T. D. Ganer, P. Scholl, W. H. Porter, R. D. Talbot, J. D. Scott, A. M. Sourbeer, O. E. Peters, W. C. King, George W. Gould, Mills Voris, R. E. Holloway, W. C. Weaver, Augustus Martin, and John H. Lyles. In 1895 was held the first reunion at Parsons, under the impulse given by this post. These reunions have been held annually since, under the direction of a committee and officers elected by those who participate therein.

Mound Valley Post, No. 139, was organized November 9, 1882. There are 110 names on its roll of old soldiers who have been members of this post. Only about 17 are in good standing; five have died, and the others have withdrawn by suspension or removal. The following have been commanders: Josephus Moore, W. W. Harper, A. J. Ginger, L. C. Wilmoth, Ivy Prescott, L. E. Hanson, N. W. Wallis, Ivy Prescott, T. J. Maudlin, L. E. Hanson, Ivy Prescott, McHenry Smith, J. W. Fee, L. E. Hanson, and C. G. Titsworth.

Oswego Post, No. 150, was organized January 10, 1883, and has had the following commanders: John F. Hill, D. H. David, E. B. Baldwin, George P. Hall, J. C. Patterson, H. C. Cook, W. L. Burch, R. W. Wright, Otis Whitney, B. F. Richards, G. W. Hendricks, Colin Hodge, N. Sanford, H. E. Fuller, J. Garten, and G. W. Mathews. A soldiers' reunion was held in Oswego in the fall of 1900, under the patronage of this post.

Topping Post, No. 268, is located at Altamont, and was organized September 8, 1883. Commanders: Daniel Reid, Ezra Bonebrake, J. C. Murphy, J. J. Miles, A. H. Waite, R. A. Davis, J. F. Huffman, T. J. Hun, and T. H. Murray. It has a membership of 22, and has lost three by death.

Knoxville Post, No. 458, was organized in the Hawkins schoolhouse near Trenton, May 18, 1883, and was numbered 167. Col. E. B. Baldwin was the first commander. Its charter members embraced most of the old soldiers and in the southwestern portion of the county, and they were among the most substantial and prominent citizens. After Edna was started, the post was removed to that town, and a reorganization was effected. A new charter, No. 458, was issued to it, dated February 9, 1889. The building in which the post held its meetings was burned in February, 1890, and many of its effects, including its charter, were consumed. A full list of post commanders has not been secured, but among the incumbents of that office have been Col. E. B. Baldwin S. W. McMahan, J. M. Edmonson, and W. J. Raymond.